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aluminum radiator for daily driver

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I' ve had my 76 280Z for nearly thirty years and last week my radiator started leaking again. This radiator is my 6th one. I'm not buying generic radiators. I have tried Nissan, MSA, reputable radiator shops in town that have made custor ones to fit my Z. They don't get plugged up, they just start leaking at the seams top or bottom usually.Then I'll have them repaired two or three times and get another one. The car has never been wrecked. Are aluminum radiators stronger than a stock radiator? I hate to spend extra $$ that won't fix my problem. Thanks for any ideas.

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Well I can't say aluminum radiators are stronger than copper/brass radiators, but I can say that the seems are welded instead of soldered like the copper/brass radiators so it is less likely to leak at the seams.

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How many miles does you 76 have on it? My 78 has had two radiators in it's lifetime (roughtly 99K miles). The one that was in it when I bought it in 1997 which was never changed by the PO and the one I put in it in 2005 which was a new 'Modine' brand an it hasn't shown any problems so far.

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You know, now that I think about it, I looked at the Modine at a local radiator shop but didn't buy it. My radiator is an NOS one that I bought from OEM Surplus a little over two years ago but I doubt if he would have any more.

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I'm wondering about stress. Has the radiator support panel ever been hit or damaged? When you bolt in the radiator, do all the mounts fit snugly without having to "pull" it tight with the bolts? Because this does not seem like a common issue on other cars. If you have been having consistent problems, I'd lean toward something in the car itself as being the cause.

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If you have been having consistent problems, I'd lean toward something in the car itself as being the cause.

I was thinking the same things. I still have the original radiator which I had re-cored 22 years ago.

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After reading your replys all I can say is the radiator hangs straight on the little hooks on each side and the 4 bolts always line up without any problem and I snug them down evenly. The radiator was the first thing to break on the car when it was new after only three years so I'm going to really look close when I get it off this time. Maybe a factory defect in the mounting area? Is there any other way other than just eyeball it for straightness?Thanks for all your help, this is frustrating.....

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I too have repaired my Modine 4 core 2times now. I'm thinking that the vibration has something to do with it. I'm almost thinking that some rubber spacers between radiator and the support wall might slow it down a bit as well as move it a little closer to the fan for better cooling.

I have the Stock fan shroud but can't use it with my particular modine radiator. I had to reflow the whole top back on as well as fix a hole midway down the radiator because of a stray rock.

Let us know what you end up doing,

Dave.

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Guys, you must not solidly mount a radiator to the core support on a 240Z. The core support flexes and, over time, will slowly tear any radiator apart. Use a Lord mount or some other small rubber isolator.

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Guys, you must not solidly mount a radiator to the core support on a 240Z. The core support flexes and, over time, will slowly tear any radiator apart. Use a Lord mount or some other small rubber isolator.

Yup. I've replaced or repaired my brass radiator 3 or 4 times. My understanding is that the frame rails flex and the core support isn't stiff enough to hold everything in line. As the core support flexes this slowly pulls the radiator apart. The harder you corner, the more likely this is to occur. The aluminum radiators are more prone to breaking under the stress than brass ones from what I've gathered. But like John says all it takes is some very simple isolation of the radiator from the core support and that should solve any issues. This is one of the things on my to do list...

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Having worked at FLUIDYNE and now for Stewart Components I can tell you aluminum cores are stronger than copper brass because the aluminum tubes are extruded and the fines and tube sheets are brazed with a Nocolock furance. Cheaper cores use an epoxy to seal the tubes to the tube supports, which works ok but brazed is stronger. With copper/Brass they are soldered which is not as strong and does not transfer heat as well.

I would bet that there is some truth to core support flex and keep in mind radiators grow when they heat up, shrink when they cool down. Also radiators in todays cars last longer than they did before. I do not know of any copper/brass cores in production cars anymore. Alumium radaitors can be more expensive, just more skilled labor involved in producing them,unless you manufacture in large qaunities. Aftermarket radiators such as FLUIDYNE are hand TIG welded. I will use an alumium radiator in my 240Z when the time comes, right now the body work still drags on.

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